Monday, March 23, 2009

Kneadlessly Simple

In January, I was consumed with making a perfect loaf of no-knead bread. My first attempt was less that successful, but after a search of the Internet and experimenting with different flours and yeast, I was finally able to produce a great loaf.
And then last week, I purchased Kneadlessly Simple by Nancy Baggett. As I read through her recipes I noticed a number of differences in her use of ingredients and methods. I will admit that I was very skeptical about the results, after all, I had become the expert on no-knead bread just 2 months ago! Nancy's method includes using cold water and chilling the dough before the first rise and I had no faith that the bread would rise. Boy was I wrong. Just take a look at those bubbles of carbon dioxide from the yeast. Since I was in a hurry to finish the bread, I used Nancy's tip for the second rising and placed the dough in the microwave with a cup of boiling water for an hour. I heated the 4 1/2 quart LeCreuset Dutch oven, plopped the dough in the pot and baked it. The smell during the baking was incredible. And the bread was wonderful, crusty on the outside and tender on the inside. Nancy knows what she is doing when it comes to no-knead bread. The book includes a variety of recipes and is a must for every wanna-be baker.

Crusty White Peasant-Style Pot Bread
adapted from Kneadless Simple

4 cups (20 ounces) King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 teaspoon Fleischmann's RapidRise yeast
2 cups ice water
Canola oil spray
In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add the water and stir vigorously until thoroughly blended. Spray the top of the dough with canola oil, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove from the frig and let rise for 18 to 24 hours, stirring once about halfway through rising.

Using an oiled spatula, gently lift and fold the dough to the center until deflated. Spray the surface with canola oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or place in a microwave with a cup of boiling water until the dough is doubled.

Preheat a 4 1/2 quart Dutch oven in a 450 degree F. oven. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, being careful - the pot is very hot. Loosen the dough from the bowl with a spatula and gently invert into the pot. Brush the top with water and cover with the lid. Shake gently to center the dough.

Reduce the temperature to 425 degrees F. and bake on the lower rack for 55 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the center registers 209 to 212 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer. Cool in the pot on a wire rack for 10 minutes and remove the loaf to the rack and cool.
If you have any leftovers, cut into cubes for croutons or to use in panzanella.


  1. Leftovers? Are you kidding?

  2. Patty, it does make a great looking loaf and yes, Susan, I did have some leftovers.